Browns General Manager Tom Heckert press conference 4-19-12
(On if he wants to keep the fourth overall pick or trade down)- "I think we would like to stay there. Wherever you are picking you think you are going to stay there and then if something else happens that's the secondary thing. I do think we probably would be able to trade out. I don't know that for sure but I think so. Right now we hope we stay there and take a good player."
(On if everyone in the front office is on the same page with the fourth overall selection)- "I know who that four is going to be if we stay there. We are all on the same page. We know we are getting a really good player no matter what happens at three. We know we are getting one of two guys. We don't know who is going to go at three, but we are extremely happy and excited with whoever is going to be there at four."
(On if he feels that a team may try to trade up to the number three pick to take one of the players the team wants)- "Like I said, there is more than one guy and they don't know who we are thinking about taking. It really wouldn't affect us that much if they did because we are happy with one of a few guys. It wouldn't be a big deal to us to be honest with you."
(On Peter King saying Justin Blackmon is his preference with the fourth pick)- "I haven't spoken to Peter King in years so I have no idea where that came from. Everything you have heard is complete nonsense. It's just this time of year and I understand that. It's fun for all you guys. Everybody is on the same page here with who we are considering."
(On if they laugh at reports like those)- "Yeah, we kind of do and then you guys all ask the questions so I know it's coming eventually. We understand, everyone is doing the same thing. Everyone is talking about who Minnesota is taking and I have no idea if they like (Matt) Kalil or not. Who knows. Everybody that says stuff they don't know. I don’t know if they are making it up but it's their best guess I should say."
(On if he does studies of what running backs who have been taken high in the draft have done in their careers)- "We have all those studies and it's the same thing with receivers. With receivers that have gone with top (picks), some have been good and some have been bad. You look at all that stuff but you really can't. They are all different. These guys are different and you have character and all the other stuff you look into. The guys that we are talking about we don't have to worry about character. We don't have to worry about a lot of things, which is great because sometimes you do. Not saying you don't take a guy that has a couple issues but we don't have to worry about those situations."
(On if he would have any hesitations taking a running back with the fourth pick)- "No."
(On if taking
(On Ryan Tannehill)- "I do think one thing and we try to keep this to ourselves but, people talk about Ryan Tannehill flying up the draft board after his workout. That is simply not true. With most players, where they are now is the same where they were after the season. He had a good workout, but to be honest with you, I haven't seen a lot of people have bad workouts. It's a workout, it's not a game. So, wherever somebody had him, that's probably where they still have him. He is a good player and he's obviously very new to the position having played wide receiver. He is a good football player."
(On the challenges in evaluating a guy with limited experience)- "Obviously when you look at quarterbacks you like to watch all his throws in college and his are a lot less. That's just the way it is and it's not his fault. It just makes it more difficult. I remember the same thing with (Mark) Sanchez. I think Sanchez had five more games than Tannehill. So, it's just less tape to watch but you are still looking for the same things. You just have less of it to watch."
(On if there are multiple players he is confident will be available at #22 and #37)- "Yes. Obviously, we have a wish list like everyone else. I can tell you 13 guys I'd love to have in all the picks. That's probably unrealistic. We do have ammunition though, which is nice. If there is somebody we don't think is going to get there we can move up and get them. That's always a plus when you have extra picks."
(On if he still feels the need to acquire future draft picks during the draft)- "We always like to stay where we're at, but if we think we can get a similar type of player and get something for it I just don't understand why not. Why wouldn't you do that? It has nothing to do with building for the future, I think it's just smart. The more draft picks you have the better off you are going to be. Everyone knows it's a crap shoot sometimes. The more chances you have in there the better chances you are going to get a good player. I'll always feel that way. Now, to trade just to trade, I don't think we've ever done that and I would never do that. I don't care what our record or depth is or any of that stuff. If there is a good football player we are going to take him, unless someone offers something that makes sense for us."
(On if having compensatory picks that can't be traded helps him use regular draft picks for trades)- "I don't know if I've thought about it in that way, but yes, we know we are going to have those picks. You are right. Even if we could use them, we'd still think about moving up if there was a good player. If you can move up in the first, second, third round, just the quality of player you are getting, your hoping you are moving up for a really good player, a starter. Those in the fourth and fifth you are hoping he's a starter. If you draft a guy in the first three rounds you are saying that the guy is going to start for us at some point, at least in our opinion."
(On if he would still trade down)- "Yes, if we did. There are a certain amount of players where we don't want to go past that. We think those players are really good and we want one of those players. Yes, that's a fair assessment."
(On if he feels he must address the right side of the offensive line early rather than late)- "That's probably going to be a wait and see type of thing. Depending on what we do, obviously right off the top, it will affect what we do the rest of the way. We have a scenario board. We started it just this week where what you do in the first (#4) will affect what you do at #22. We have all the different (scenarios) if we take this guy, then obviously, if it's at the same position we are not taking this guy. We have those situations and we are ready for whichever happens. It really depends on what we do early."
(On how high a priority is the right tackle position)- "I don't know. It would be great. Obviously, if you can get a really good one, it's great. Now, if you look in the league, there are a lot teams playing with guys that you've never heard of, to be honest with you. We think we have guys who can step in and play. Oniel (Cousins) played a little bit last year and we have (John) Greco who could play there. We do have guys who can play there, we are not saying we don't. But yes, we are looking for one."
(On if it can be a priority without spending the first round picks on one)- "I'm not going to answer that. We are looking at that position."
(On if he views the top three or four picks as starters for this season)- "Yes. That's always the case. Definitely."
(On weighing immediate needs versus how good a player at another position might be in the future)- "That's a tough one. It's probably easier said. Where we are picking, especially the first pick, it's probably not going to come down to that, most likely, but it might. When you are sitting there at, let's say #22, you have to stay close to your board. You are going to make a mistake. You are going to make a mistake if you do that. You can say, ‘Well it's a need.’ You can draft that need and that guy is not going to be good enough. You can't stray from what you think about the player just because of a perceived need. You can ask every personnel guy in the league and that's where the mistakes are made. You think you have to have this guy and you take a guy that's not good enough and you basically blow that pick, you are still looking for that same position and you don't pick a good player. To answer your question, yes, in a perfect world, we'd draft a good player at a need position. If it came down to it, it has to be the player over the need."
(On if that applies to someone like Morris Claiborne with the fourth pick)- "It depends on how we have him rated, which I'm not going to tell you how we have these guys rated. At four, you are going to have guys that are close enough that who knows, but you are probably going to have a chance to get whatever you want."
(On if he thinks the current wide receiver corps is better than they showed in 2011)- "Obviously
(On reports by Peter King that the Browns have the worst skill positioned players in the NFL)- "That's his opinion, I don't think so. Can we use help there? No question, but I don't agree with that. It is what it is. Whatever he says is his opinion."
(On comparing the players from the 2011 draft to 2012)- "I haven't really compared them, we kind of do that afterwards. It seems, at least on our board, like less, numbers wise. Before I came down here we were actually doing this deal that I do. I think we probably have 18 guys with first round grades, which doesn't mean anything. One of those guys will be there at 22. That's just how it works out, it always does. Obviously, we have 18 guys and someone else is going to have 20 but 10 of them will be different than our guys. When you start to get down to the second round we have third round guys in the second round and fifth round guys in the fourth. Numbers-wise, it's less for us, but it's always less than the actual numbers. This year seems to be more. Just on a big board, we don't move them up on our draft board. We list the guys one through 240, so when you start looking at the 64th pick, you think that's a second round pick, but he is in our third or fourth round. It's a little less than I think normally."
(On if he would trade out of the round if all 18 guys are taken before their 22nd pick)- "In my opinion you try to get out. To be honest with you, that's sort of what happened last year. It started dwindling and we went up and made sure we got a guy that we had [targeted]. We were getting a little low on guys and actually Jabaal (Sheard) was close in there. If we had lost Phil (Taylor) it might have been Jabaal. Who knows? We felt that Phil was such a better player and they were coming off our board pretty quick that we wanted to get him. If that happens, we can do it either way. If we start getting close and losing some guys then we can move up. It really doesn't usually happen. Especially at 22, we feel pretty confident that it's not going to come off exactly how we have it. I know that for a fact because we have guys, and it happens every year with every team, where you read all this stuff about a guy going in the first round and we laugh because we have him in the third round. It's the same thing and somebody might have him in the first round. It's a lot of stuff that happens like that. It's not surprising anymore but I'm sure people say the same thing about us. We'll take a guy, I know when we drafted T.J. (Ward) a lot of people were like, ‘Wow.’ That happens throughout the league."
(On how much better Morris Claiborne is than the other defensive backs in the draft and if he still values that position)- "Defensive backs wise, it's not a great group. There are a couple guys that are really good and he is obviously a really, really good player. You have to have corners. You have to have three legit corners to survive in this league and that's why corners are such a big deal. He is a really, really good one."
(On if he feels he has to draft all offensive players with the first three picks)- "In a perfect world, you'd like to take the best player at a need position, but we are not living in a perfect world. To say we are taking three offensive guys with our first three picks, I would not say that. Like I said, in a perfect world yes, but we are not going to do it just to go it. We can't. There are guys that we hope are there, but if they are not, you just can't say let's just go to the next offensive guy and skip over these five really good defensive players. That makes no sense to me."
(On if Claiborne is comparable to Patrick Peterson)- "They are different, they really are. Peterson was super-fast and Mo is not as fast but he has phenomenal ball skills, so does Patrick. They are both really good. You can nitpick with some things. They are both really good and they make a lot of plays."
(On how much size matters in terms of wide receivers)- "Zero. It's how you play. Size doesn't mean a whole lot. Now if the guy was 5-9 maybe but zero. It has nothing."
(On if there is a tie in player rankings, would they be less likely to take a corner because it isn’t a position of need)- "If it's a tie, but when you are talking about top guys it's probably not going to be a tie. There are definitely guys who are one, two, three and four for us. There is not a tie."
(On the reasoning for working out Matt Kalil)- "Anybody that we are thinking about taking at four, we want to know the most we can about them. We have always done that. You can read into stuff about workouts and bringing guys in. The four is a little different but when you are picking everywhere else you try to bring in guys you like, but you also like to bring in guys you have major questions about or some questions no matter where they are going to be in the draft. When you are talking about the fourth we try to do our homework obviously on everybody."
(On if they have taken Luck and Griffin out of their mind)- “I am assuming they are going, but, yeah, they are still in our ranks. If one fell, he’d be our guy. If he’s one or two and he’s there at four, he’s going to be our guy.”
(On if all of the players are ranked in order)- “Definitely, there are no ties.”
(On if they are considering two guys and if it’s all based on what Minnesota does)- “There might be five guys we are considering, but we know we are going to get one out of the two guys. Do you know what I’m saying? Our top two guys, we are going to get one of them.”
(On if they are going to get one of the guys they have ranked three or four)- “Yeah, it’s going to be one of our top guys.”
(On trading up for the third pick)- “It’s highly unlikely. I’d never say never.”
(On if he can say how many spots they would be willing to trade back)- “Nope.”
(On how many players they are considering with the fourth pick)- “I can’t tell you that.”
(On if he would be willing to trade out of the top 10)- “I’m not telling you that.”
(On reports that weird things are being discovered about Justin Blackmon which are causing him to slide)- “He is a great kid and a great football player in my mind.”
(On the state of the quarterback situation)- “I don’t think it’s changed much. Colt (McCoy) looks great by the way. We like Colt, we do. I think at any position, well I shouldn’t say any position because left tackle is probably not where we would go, but most other positions, if we find somebody that we think is a really good player and is better than that guy than we are going to do it. That’s all positions, it’s not Colt. We like Colt. We think Colt can play. I know everybody talked about the Washington deal, but it’s not like you are saying Colt is a bad quarterback by doing that. We like Colt.”
(On if they factor in Brandon Weeden’s age when evaluating him)- “You have to, you just have to. Is it a big deal? No, but it’s there. It’s like anything else. You want all your draft picks to play 10 years and if he plays 10 years, he’s going to be 39 years old. It’s a factor. It’s probably better for that position, to be honest with you, than a receiver or corner or something like that at that age. The you would probably be less likely to take them. It’s something that you have to use your head and if you want a guy who is older. The other question is whether you think the guy is a starter or a guy that can start. That’s where some teams are going to say, ‘Do you want a 29 year old backup rookie quarterback?’ Whoever decides to take him, that’s what they are going to have to decide.”
(On if he thinks Weeden is good enough to start)- “I have my opinion on it, but I can’t tell you that. I’ll tell you that when the draft is over Saturday night (joking).”
(On if he will use one of their top three picks on a quarterback)- “That’s a big question mark. I don’t know.”
(On if he can say why they didn’t go after Matt Flynn in free agency)- “No, because he is on another team and I don’t want to get into that right now.”
(On what it says about their current quarterback if they were willing to give up as much as Washington to get the number two pick)- “You just answered your own question, we didn’t go after Matt Flynn. That’s what I am saying. When you are talking about the two guys in this draft, I think that’s a different statement in my opinion, but that’s me.”
(On why it’s different)- “I think it’s obvious. I think those guys are really, really good Pro Bowl type guys. That’s not saying Colt isn’t a really good player.”
(On what he thinks about Weeden as a quarterback)- “I’m not telling you. I’ve got a draft here in a week. Do you want me to tell you where we have these guys rated? There are a lot of stories out there right now that I like and I want to keep a lot of them where they’re at. I am feeling pretty good about it (joking).”
(On the reports that Ryan Tannehill might not be ready to play right now)- “He played 19 games so it’s not like he is coming off not playing. I don’t know where that comes from. Especially in our system – he knows our system - he had the coach. It would probably be easier for him to play in our system, I guess. I don’t buy that. If you are drafting a kid early you are probably going to play him, in my opinion. If you draft a kid early, whatever first round, you are probably going to want to start him.”
(On if he isn’t for drafting a guy and letting him sit for a year)- “You never say never; it just depends on a lot of things. He has to prove he can play; you just aren’t going to throw him out there. That’s a good question. You have to wait and see what you get through training camp and see how it goes.”
(On if they will probably not come out of this draft with someone who will start at quarterback in 2012)- “I can’t answer that. I really can’t. Like I said, if we don’t we aren’t upset by it at all. But if we do, we do. I can’t answer that right now.”
(On how big of a setback it is to miss on a top five draft pick)- “It’s a big setback because obviously you are hoping for a good player for a long time. Financially, it is a lot less of a problem than it used to be, which is obviously great for everybody. Nobody wants to make mistakes, but if you made a mistake back then, it was a disaster from a financial standpoint. You are talking about what is supposed to be a really good football player. Everybody wants the 10 year Pro Bowler, which is fine, but I’ll take the two year Pro Bowler rather than a bust. You don’t want a bust, you can’t have a bust. That’s what you are trying to avoid.”
(On what point you can finally relax and say, ‘That was a good pick’)- “I don’t know if you ever do to be honest with you. If they come out there and play and you see them start then you are pretty comfortable, but you are always concerned about something. You just are. It’s a stressful business.”
(On the difference of impact between a three-down back like Trent Richardson and a wide receiver like Justin Blackmon who might not see the football as much)- “We all talk about the playmakers, I think if you look at those two guys, touchdowns, they are right about the same. They both score touchdowns, which obviously is what you want in an offensive skill guy. I guess that part of it, it doesn’t bother me. You are right, a running back is always going to touch the ball more, but running backs are going to score touchdowns no matter who it is. With receivers, that doesn’t always happen. You can look at it both ways.”
(On if there is any added pressure on hitting on the skill positions since they didn’t address it in free agency)- “There is always pressure on who we take. You have to have good players. Again, I am probably talking more about myself then to you guys when I say, you’ve got to be careful how you do that. You just can’t panic. I’ve done it. I’ve made bad mistakes for that exact reason. It was not from a skill position standpoint, it was more the positions we talked about with tackle and pass rusher. I’ve made big mistakes at both of them. I’ve traded up in the first round for both positions and they were bad moves. It was strictly for a need. It was something we never should have done. I am trying to avoid that. That was a long time ago when we did those, but we’ve learned from it. It’s something that I believe in. There’s a lot of pressure from media, fans, people in your building, scouts and it’s my job to say, ‘Wait a minute. It’s not the right thing to do.’ I think that is the hardest thing to convey to the fans. It’s not like we don’t want those guys, we want them just as bad as they do, but we don’t want to make a mistake doing it. There is way more mistakes made than great players picked or free agent wise or whatever. We just try to do the right thing.”
(On if Mike Holmgren moderates the quarterback position)- “Mike watches the quarterbacks, but he lets me do my job. He watches the quarterbacks and we talk about them. We spend a lot of time with the quarterbacks, talking about them and watching them together. Obviously, he has major input in a lot of things we do. He knows what we are doing, but he lets me do what I’m supposed to do.”
(On if he feels they might be able to get equal value on a quarterback late in the draft)- “Yeah, obviously it’s a little less pressure on those types of guys. Do they have to come in and start? No. Do we think they can be starters down the road? Yeah. I think there are guys like that. Mike talks about that all the time, in a perfect world you would always try to draft a quarterback and hopefully you hit on a Matt Hasselbeck or a later, mid-round guy who turns out to be a good player. It doesn’t happen very often. Like you said, if you are in whatever round, fourth, fifth, third, if you are close and you have a chance to draft a quarterback, you are probably going to do that if you think he has a chance to be a starter down the road. Now, if you think he is going to be a career backup then in my opinion you don’t draft him. You can draft him late to be your third or second or whatever, but if there is a guy who you think can be the starter, why not take a chance on him?”
(On if Justin Blackmon stacks up to other recent top five receivers like A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson)- “From a college standpoint, yeah they stack up. But those guys you are talking about, Calvin Johnson, those guys have had great careers. A.J. Green had a great rookie year so it’s tough to compare them. From a college standpoint, he stacks up. Heck yeah. You are talking about a guy in the top five, everybody is talking about him, or wherever top 10, then yeah he is a good player.”
(On if measurables are more important in the top five)- “No, not really. If there is something drastically off, yeah it would. But these guys, you are talking about nickel and diming some stuff.”
(On if Trent Richardson is the best running back in the draft since Adrian Peterson)- “That’s the same thing, you can say all you want, but there have been some really good college players who haven’t turned out so well. He was replacing a guy that was pretty good, Mark Ingram. He was pretty good. To say he is that much better, that’s for other people to decide. We have to look at this year.”
(On his impressions of Richardson)- “He’s a great guy. Like I said, all the guys we are talking about we feel really, really comfortable with. That hasn’t always been the case. With character all that stuff, they are all good.”
(On if it helps Richardson coming out of a more pro-style system)- “Yeah, a little bit, but the main things is you get to see him catch the ball and in pass pro. That’s good. Where some guys you never get to see them catch the ball or you never see them line up in pass pro. There are a few guys in this year’s draft, I would say the top at least our top three running backs, all can catch the ball and can block. That’s something that sometimes you can’t tell. One guy is not and one guy is in that type of system, I am talking about after him, so it helps.”
(On if he gave Gary Brown grief for getting knocked down by Richardson)- “It was quite interesting. I saw, I think it was Mary Kay who talked to coach (Nick) Saban and he mentioned it so that’s not good. We were actually sitting on the plane coming back and my director of college scouting was with us and he looked it up on YouTube and he was talking about he already had 50,000 hits by the time we left. We gave him a little grief for that.”
(On how important it is to draft a young linebacker to get into the rotation)- “That’s something we are thinking about. In our opinion, it’s not a great linebacker draft. That’s not saying we aren’t going to get one. It’s just not, I don’t know how else to say it. Hopefully we can get some young guys in here and see what they do.”
(On having patience in the past when drafting guys like LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson in the second round and if there is that type of guy available this year)- “That’s tough to do. I think there’s a chance that at least one of those positions, that there is going to be a good player there, a guy that can come in here and start. That is tough to do. I remember vividly the biggest one was (Brian) Westbrook. We were trying everything in the world to get up to get him and he was there where we picked him late in the third. LeSean, we thought that would be a chance that he was going to be there and he was. That was a tough one, too. His was because he was sick and he didn’t work out very well so people were down on him, I don’t know why. DeSean had some other reasons why he was there, but if you can get those two guys in the second round you’ve done a pretty good job. I am not tooting my own horn, we were lucky. We all know there is a big part of luck in this draft and that’s just the way it is.”
(On Trent Richardson taking a girl with cancer to the prom and if that fit into what they already knew about him)- “Yeah and I don’t know if you saw the story about Blackmon too. It was the same type of thing, a girl with leukemia. Those two guys are class, class guys. Hopefully we can get those types of guys.”
(On if Randy Lerner has increased his input in what the team should be doing in the draft)- “No, Randy has been great. He really has. He believes in what we are doing and he knows it’s hard. We want to win games and everybody does. He is the owner of the football team and I talk to him about it. I let him know what we are thinking, but as far as asking us to do something, no.”
(On reflecting on the trade with Atlanta from last year and if he thinks about it a lot)- “I haven’t thought about it a lot, but I do think it was the right thing for our football team. I really do. The guys we drafted last year turned out to be pretty good players, which helps that. If they weren’t and everybody assumes we would have taken A.J. Green and that would have been the guy if we stayed, and I am not going to say ‘yes or no’ on that. This year, we hope to get some more good players. That’s what the whole thing was. Somebody asked the question if it was time to not worry about gathering up picks and we think we are getting close to that point. I would say I wouldn’t do that trade this year. I think we are further along than last year in terms of talent. Moving all the way down to that pick, it would be tough for me to do this year.”
(On if they are poised to make a big splash this year)- “No, I really don’t. It’s funny, I talk to Thomas Dimitroff about it all the time. It’s always like, ‘Who got the better of the deal.’ We could really care less. He thought it was a great move for his team and I thought it was a great move for our team. We both agreed with it. We talked about it even before the trade, I understand what we was doing. I do. He really understood what we were doing. It’s kind of funny when you talk about things like that.”
(On if there is a preconceived notion of how many starters they want from this draft)- “No, I haven’t thought about it. The guys you take in the first three rounds we would like to be starters. Now, whether they start this year, that would be great, but it probably depends on what position we take. Some guys if you take a guy and someone else is there then they might not be a starter; he might play on third downs or whatever. Trust me, I feel very fortunate and I don’t want to say lucky because our scouts do work their butts off and that’s why we do a great job because of the people we have working for us, but a lot of it is luck. Every year you can’t expect to get five starters or seven starters, it just doesn’t happen. If you look throughout the league no matter what it just doesn’t happen. We have been very, very fortunate here. Some people say they are starting because we aren’t very good, but that remains to be seen. We disagree with that, we think they are starting because they are good enough to start. If we can keep that up - and that’s what are plans are - but if you don’t my philosophy about building through the draft doesn’t work, so you better draft good players.”
(On what the identity of what they want to do is and his vision for that identity)- “That’s a tough question. Pat (Shurmur) and I obviously want a physical football team. On defense, I think we’ve helped that. Offensively, we want to score more points than we have in the past. Do we need explosive players? Yes. I think we are on our way with the defense. Do we need more help there? Yes. Offensively, everyone knows it - it’s not a secret - we need guys that can score points. Hopefully, we can add to that.”
(On if they talked about a one-year deal with Peyton Hillis)- “Yeah, we talked to him. We just decided to not go there. That’s really what it came down to. We talked to him and we just decided that we were going to move in a different direction. There’s no ill feeling. We talked to his agent and just decided to move on.”
(On if one of the reasons they didn’t re-sign Hillis was because he felt they needed more speed at running back)- “No, I don’t think so. We are getting Brandon Jackson back and if we add somebody in this draft somewhere then there’s just no room at the end.”
(On if changing schools so late impacts Russell Wilson at all)- “That whole thing, I don’t think it was anybody’s fault. There was a baseball thing and some stuff in there. No, that doesn’t hurt him at all. It probably helped him to be honest with you.”
(On the two defensive linemen free agent signings in
(On if those signings precludes them from drafting defensive linemen)- “Ends it might preclude us a little bit. Obviously if someone fell, but early ends probably wouldn’t be a big deal for us.”
(On if they will be looking to add a defensive tackle)- “I am not saying we are set at end, but we could always use depth. Defensive line, especially pass rushers, we are always going to look at.”